Ingraffea admits gas migration theories baseless
April 13th, 2017
Australian anti-gas activists have adopted a number of heroes in their ‘stop it all now’ crusade against fossil fuels. One of them is Professor Tony Ingraffea, from Cornell University in the USA.
Professor Ingraffea was a key ‘expert’ in the gasland movies, which claim to be documentaries, but are actually far from fact, as we have explained before.
Engineers, geologists and other academics have long questioned Proffessor Ingraffea’s theories. Now add to that list a judge in the US State of Pennsylvania.
Professor Ingraffea’s ‘expert’ testimony was chucked out of court by Judge Martin C. Carlson, with some cutting commentary about his testimony about gas migration and its profound weaknesses.
But it wasn’t left to the judge. Professor Ingraffea did the job on himself, admitting that his theories on the way gas could migrate from deep underground shale deposits to shallow aquifers were “speculative”.
This is a very serious word for an academic. It reduces credibility to near zero – particularly in a situation where Professor Ingraffea has literally traded off this flawed dogma for a decade, both in the USA and abroad, including Australia.
On a fractivist promotional tour in 2014, Professor Ingraffea told adoring fans in Australia that one in five wells in the USA is flawed from the moment it is built and that most steadily decay thereafter.
This is rubbish as we explained in both the US and Australian context.
But worse than wrongly attacking well integrity, Professor Ingraffea then went on to assert (he now admits the more accurate word would be ‘speculate’) that gas then migrated via the well and fractures created by fracking from shall formations kilometres below ground up to shallow acquifers, contaminating them. This was the explanation for the contamination of water on the Ely family property near Dimock – the town where ‘Gasland’ was created.
As Judge Carlson found, these assertions simply do not hold water.
In fact the Judge described them as exhibiting “substantial and varied weaknesses”, adding that Professor Ingraffea’s ‘expert’ testimony featured “serious and troubling irregularities”.
Now that a court has finally applied the knife to Professor Ingraffea’s reputation, the question is, will he do the honourable thing and acknowledge his weaknesses more broadly and apologise to all those around the world who have accepted his ‘expert’ word? We doubt it.